[kon-too-muh-see, -tyoo-]
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noun, plural con·tu·ma·cies.
  1. stubborn perverseness or rebelliousness; willful and obstinate resistance or disobedience to authority.

Origin of contumacy

1150–1200; Middle English contumacie < Latin contumācia, equivalent to contumāc-, stem of contumāx unyielding, stubborn (con- con- + -tum- of uncertain sense, though connected by classical authors with both contemnere to regard with contempt and tumēre to swell) + -āx adj. suffix) + -ia -ia Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

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Historical Examples of contumacy

British Dictionary definitions for contumacy


noun plural -cies
  1. obstinate and wilful rebelliousness or resistance to authority; insubordination; disobedience
  2. the wilful refusal of a person to appear before a court or to comply with a court order

Word Origin for contumacy

C14: from Latin contumācia, from contumāx obstinate; related to tumēre to swell, be proud
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012

Word Origin and History for contumacy

late 14c., from Latin contumacia "haughtiness, insolence," noun of quality from contumax (see contumely).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper